NEW YORK -- The Rangers have come a long way since the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs in many areas, but none bigger than the team's confidence.
Facing a 3-2 series deficit in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers won Game 6 on the road and Game 7 on Thursday night at home, 2-1, to advance to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2008.
The last time the Rangers took part in a Game 7 was in 2009 against the Washington Capitals after squandering a 3-1 lead in that series. The seventh-seeded Rangers played the second-seeded Capitals to the bone, but lost 2-1 on a late goal by Sergei Fedorov at Verizon Center.
RANGERS VS. SENATORS
Rangers advance with Game 7 winBy Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer
With the Senators throwing everything they could at goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers did what they did all season -- throw every body part they could in front of any puck coming toward the net. Goals from defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi in the second period stood up as the Rangers won 2-1 to advance to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2008. READ MORE ›
This time, the top-seeded Rangers were on the ropes as a top seed and coming off a win. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who was part of that team along with Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, who scored both goals in Game 7 on Thursday, said there was more confidence on this team than there was three years ago.
The Rangers backed up those words on the ice in a big way against the Senators.
"It was a different feeling," Girardi said. "It's hard to compare them. One is in their building, one is here. I think this year's team finishing first has a lot more confidence than the team finishing eighth. I think the way we played all year has helped us be ready for situations like this, especially going into Ottawa and getting that game. Our resilience and our work ethic get the job done every night."
Ryan Callahan was also part of that team that stumbled in 2009 and he too could feel the difference in the locker room and on the ice.
"It's a different team. There's a different makeup," said Callahan, now the team captain. "There's more confidence in the room this time around and being at home helped."
Staal's words may have been the strongest.
"I don't think anybody in this room doubted for a second that we'd come back," Staal said. "We were still confident going into Game 6. We knew we had to get that game to get it back here, and we'd have a good shot of closing it out. We stayed confident. We stayed with it."
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